British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested on Tuesday that he had left journalism for politics because of frequent abuse of people in print in his original profession.
As a journalist and politician, 56-year-old Johnson has shown a colorful, sometimes combative style of speaking and writing that has sparked much controversy among the public in his three decades.
“If you’re a journalist, that’s a great job. It’s a great job. But the problem is that sometimes you always abuse people and attack people,” he said during a school visit Tuesday.
“Not that you want to abuse and attack them, but you are critical. You are critical when you may sometimes feel a little guilty for not taking the place of the person you are criticizing.”
Johnson concluded his spontaneous remarks by pointing out that it was these aspects of journalism that had led him to give politics a chance instead.
The opposition Labor Party said Johnson should apologize to journalists.
“We know from Donald Trump that these types of attacks on the free press are dangerous and are intended to create distrust and division,” said Chris Matheson, head of Labor media policy, lawmaker.
“When Boris Johnson says journalists always abuse people,” it probably says more about his own career, “he added.
As a young man, Johnson was fired from his first job as a journalist with the Times newspaper for writing a quote.
He made a successful career at the Daily Telegraph, where he made a name for himself as a Brussels correspondent who verbally abused the European Union in lively, if not always very precise, prose.
He later pursued parallel media and political careers as editor of Spectator magazine and as a member of parliament.
Even in the past few years, when he has focused more on successive political jobs as London Mayor, Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, he has frequently written newspaper columns in his trademark style.
In the last of a series of similar examples, he sparked a major public argument with a 2018 column comparing Muslim women wearing burqas to mailboxes and bank robbers.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)